9 April 2020 | Reading time: 2 minutes
In part 1 of this series, we explored how excessive price increases for high demand items as a result of COVID-19 might amount to unconscionable conduct under the Australian Consumer Law. Part 2 focussed on false or misleading representations made regarding the justification for a price increase.
This part 3 bulletin focuses on the new express prohibition against price gouging when re-supplying certain PPE and disinfectant goods during this extraordinary time.
Price gouging of essential goods.
On 31 March 2020, a new requirement against price gouging in relation to essential goods commenced. Price gouging is defined as:
Essential goods for these purposes are any of the following that, when worn, is capable of limiting the transmission of organisms to humans:
Alcohol wipes and hand sanitiser disinfectant goods are also deemed ‘essential’.
Importantly, this requirement does not apply to a supply of essential goods by a:
What are the consequences?
For each contravention of this requirement a person may face:
Law enforcement officers have also been empowered to require a person reasonably suspected of engaging or intending to engage in price gouging to:
The goods covered by this new requirement continue to be in short supply and high demand. Those sourcing these goods through retail channels should consider these provisions before deciding to re-supply them at substantially higher prices. A careful consideration of these restrictions may help avoid significant fines and potentially damaging enforcement action.
For details of all of our COVID-19 tips and updates, visit the Bespoke COVID-19 Hub.